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Summary According to the third edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1965) the adjective "eugenic" means "pertaining or adopted to the production of fine offspring". This is the "thin", abstract meaning of "eugenic", which carries no moral or historical connotation. In this sense, the ante-natal selection of the genetic characteristics of living beings (genetic selection) and its improvement (gene-therapy or genetic enhancement) all qualify as forms of eugenics. The word is used in this morally neutral way by contemporary proponents of "liberal eugenics". However, the word "Eugenics" may also refer to the core ideas of Francis Galton (who invented the word) and his immediate followers; or to the specific policies adopted mainly in Europe and in the United States, roughly from the beginning of the twentieth century to the end of WW2. Because such policies, including forced sterilization in US and Nazi Germany, are nowadays widely regarded as immoral, the term "eugenics" is often intended as having an intrinsic negative connotation. For that reason, some authors reject "eugenic talk" and the identification of human genetic enhancement and eugenics. This category includes works on both early eugenics and comparisons between early eugenics, traditional eugenic themes, and liberal eugenics.     
Key works

Harris 1993 argues that even if gene-therapy for removing disability or for enhancing normal human traits is a form of eugenics,  it is morally sound. He identifies the morally unsound aspect of eugenics with the idea that "those who are genetically weak should be discouraged from reproducing". He objects that eugenics properly understood maintains that "everyone should be discouraged from reproducing children who will be significantly harmed by their genetic constitution". Thus, eugenics through gene-therapy is morally sound because, unlike past eugenics, it might "enable individuals with genetic defects to be sure of having healthy rather than harmed children".  Wikler 1999 provides a short history of eugenic movements and argues that we must learn from it, for instance by avoiding genetic determinism, class and race biases and the conviction that genetic improvement overrides the freedom of the individual whether and with whom to procreate. Wikler tries to identify the "original sin" in Eugenics, which leads him to analyze and discard many usual objections against it. Agar 2008 is important as perhaps the first book that uses the expression "eugenics" with a positive connotation coherently throughout. Agar endorses eugenics achieved by parents in a society which respects reproductive liberties since, unlike traditional eugenics, it is compatible with a pluralism of different conceptions about human flourishing. Wilkinson 2010 rejects the identification of "eugenics" and moral claims made in the context of the bioethical debate concerning pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and screening. He claims that it is wrong to the emotional power of "eugenic talk" to bypass rational critical faculties.

Introductions Harris 1993 Chadwick 2001 Wikler 1999 Wilkinson 2008 Buchanan 2007
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  1. Nicholas Agar (2008). Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement. John Wiley & Sons.
    In this provocative book, philosopher Nicholas Agar defends the idea that parents should be allowed to enhance their children’s characteristics.
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  2. Denis Alexander & Ronald L. Numbers (eds.) (2010). Biology and Ideology From Descartes to Dawkins. The University of Chicago Press.
    An accessible survey, this collection will enlighten historians of science, their students, practicing scientists, and anyone interested in the relationship ...
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  3. Garland E. Allen (2013). “Culling the Herd”: Eugenics and the Conservation Movement in the United States, 1900–1940. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 46 (1):31-72.
    While from a late twentieth- and early twenty-first century perspective, the ideologies of eugenics (controlled reproduction to eliminate the genetically unfit and promote the reproduction of the genetically fit) and environmental conservation and preservation, may seem incompatible, they were promoted simultaneously by a number of figures in the progressive era in the decades between 1900 and 1950. Common to the two movements were the desire to preserve the “best” in both the germ plasm of the human population and natural environments (...)
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  4. Garland E. Allen (2002). The Unfit: History of a Bad Idea. (2001) Elof A. Carlson, New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Bioessays 24 (8):765-766.
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  5. Jonny Anomaly, Public Goods and Procreation.
    Procreation is the ultimate public goods problem. Each new child affects the welfare of many other people, and some (but not all) children produce uncompensated value that future people will enjoy. This essay addresses challenges that arise if we think of procreation and parenting as public goods. These include whether private choices are likely to lead to a socially desirable outcome, and whether changes in laws, social norms, or access to genetic engineering and embryo selection might improve the aggregate outcome (...)
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  6. Jonny Anomaly (forthcoming). Race, Genes, and the Ethics of Belief: A Review of Nicholas Wade, A Troublesome Inheritance. [REVIEW] Hastings Center Report.
  7. M. Berghs (2006). Nursing, Obedience, and Complicity with Eugenics: A Contextual Interpretation of Nursing Morality at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. Journal of Medical Ethics 32 (2):117-122.
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  8. Randall D. Bird & Garland Allen (1981). The J. H. B. Archive Report: The Papers of Harry Hamilton Laughlin, Eugenicist. Journal of the History of Biology 14 (2):339 - 353.
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  9. James Braund & Douglas G. Sutton (2008). The Case of Heinrich Wilhelm Poll (1877-1939): A German-Jewish Geneticist, Eugenicist, Twin Researcher, and Victim of the Nazis. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 41 (1):1 - 35.
    This paper uses a reconstruction of the life and career of Heinrich Poll as a window into developments and professional relationships in the biological sciences in Germany in the period from the beginning of the twentieth century to the Nazi seizure of power in 1933. Poll's intellectual work involved an early transition from morphometric physical anthropology to comparative evolutionary studies, and also found expression in twin research - a field in which he was an acknowledged early pioneer. His advocacy of (...)
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  10. Martin Brüne (2007). On Human Self-Domestication, Psychiatry, and Eugenics. Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 2 (1):21.
    The hypothesis that anatomically modern homo sapiens could have undergone changes akin to those observed in domesticated animals has been contemplated in the biological sciences for at least 150 years. The idea had already plagued philosophers such as Rousseau, who considered the civilisation of man as going against human nature, and eventually.
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  11. Allen Buchanan (2007). Institutions, Beliefs and Ethics: Eugenics as a Case Study. Journal of Political Philosophy 15 (1):22–45.
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  12. Gregory Carey & Irving I. Gottesman (2006). Genes and Antisocial Behavior: Perceived Versus Real Threats to Jurisprudence. Journal of Law, Medicine Ethics 34 (2):342-351.
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  13. Richard Cleminson (2008). Eugenics Without the State: Anarchism in Catalonia, 1900–1937. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 39 (2):232-239.
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  14. Christopher Coenen (ed.) (2010). Die Debatte Über "Human Enhancement": Historische, Philosophische Und Ethische Aspekte der Technologischen Verbesserung des Menschen. Transcript.
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  15. Paul Crook, The New Eugenics? The Ethics of Bio-Technology.
    The history of eugenics is getting tricky. Once regarded as an initially idealistic concept that degenerated into the monstrous Nazi race hygiene project or into an American sterilization assault against the disadvantaged and racially “inferior”, eugenics was deemed to have died after the Second World War, utterly discredited by better biological science and more enlightened social ideas. However recent research has shown that eugenics was more variegated than once thought — there were leftist and “reform” eugenists as well as (...)
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  16. John Davis (2008). Selecting Potential Children and Unconditional Parental Love. Bioethics 22 (5):258–268.
    For now, the best way to select a child's genes is to select a potential child who has those genes, using genetic testing and either selective abortion, sperm and egg donors, or selecting embryos for implantation. Some people even wish to select against genes that are only mildly undesirable, or to select for superior genes. I call this selection drift– the standard for acceptable children is creeping upwards. The President's Council on Bioethics and others have raised the parental <span class='Hi'>love</span> (...)
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  17. Paul Diane, James Lennox & Jim Tabery, Session 1: Eugenics Narrative and Reproductive Engineering.
    Proceedings of the Pittsburgh Workshop in History and Philosophy of Biology, Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, March 23-24 2001 Session 1: Eugenics Narrative and Reproductive Engineering.
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  18. Ezekiel J. Emanuel (1994). Prescribing Our Future: Ethical Challenges in Genetic Counseling (Book). Ethics and Behavior 4 (1):69 – 73.
  19. Alexander Etkind (2008). Beyond Eugenics: The Forgotten Scandal of Hybridizing Humans and Apes. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 39 (2):205-210.
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  20. Paul Lawrence Farber (2005). Book Reviews: Richard Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics,and Racism in Germany (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Xi + 312 Pp., $59.95. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 38 (2):390-391.
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  21. Elizabeth Fenton (2006). Liberal Eugenics & Human Nature: Against Habermas. Hastings Center Report 36 (6):35-42.
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  22. Christopher E. Forth (2005). Breeding Superman: Nietzsche, Race, and Eugenics in Edwardian and Interwar Britain (Review). Journal of Nietzsche Studies 29 (1):79-80.
  23. Dov Fox (2007). The Illiberality of 'Liberal Eugenics'. Ratio 20 (1):1–25.
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  24. F. Fresnel (1998). La stérilisation des handicapés mentaux. Médecine and Droit 1998 (31):12-17.
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  25. Francis Fukuyama (2002). [Book Review] Our Posthuman Future, Consequences of the Biotechnological Revolution. [REVIEW] Hastings Center Report 32 (6):39-40.
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  26. E. Galanakis (1999). Greek Theories on Eugenics. Journal of Medical Ethics 25 (1):60-61.
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  27. D. J. Galton (1998). Greek Theories on Eugenics. Journal of Medical Ethics 24 (4):263-267.
    With the recent developments in the Human Genome Mapping Project and the new technologies that are developing from it there is a renewal of concern about eugenic applications. Francis Galton (b1822, d1911), who developed the subject of eugenics, suggested that the ancient Greeks had contributed very little to social theories of eugenics. In fact the Greeks had a profound interest in methods of supplying their city states with the finest possible progeny. This paper therefore reviews the works of Plato (The (...)
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  28. D. J. Galton & C. J. Galton (1998). Francis Galton: And Eugenics Today. Journal of Medical Ethics 24 (2):99-105.
    Eugenics can be defined as the use of science applied to the qualitative and quantitative improvement of the human genome. The subject was initiated by Francis Galton with considerable support from Charles Darwin in the latter half of the 19th century. Its scope has increased enormously since the recent revolution in molecular genetics. Genetic files can be easily obtained for individuals either antenatally or at birth; somatic gene therapy has been introduced for some rare inborn errors of metabolism; and gene (...)
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  29. Francis Galton (1904). Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope, and Aims. 10 (1):1 - 25.
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  30. Lisa Gannett (2001). Racism and Human Genome Diversity Research: The Ethical Limits of "Population Thinking". Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S479-.
    This paper questions the prevailing historical understanding that scientific racism "retreated" in the 1950s when anthropology adopted the concepts and methods of population genetics and race was recognized to be a social construct and replaced by the concept of population. More accurately, a "populational" concept of race was substituted for a "typological one"-this is demonstrated by looking at the work of Theodosius Dobzhansky circa 1950. The potential for contemporary research in human population genetics to contribute to racism needs to be (...)
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  31. Magdalena Gawin (2008). The Sex Reform Movement and Eugenics in Interwar Poland. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 39 (2):181-186.
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  32. David Gems (1999). Politically Correct Eugenics. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 20 (2):201-213.
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  33. Natalia Gerodetti (2008). Rational Subjects, Marriage Counselling and the Conundrums of Eugenics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 39 (2):255-262.
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  34. C. Gillespie (1983). Letting Die Severely Handicapped Children. Journal of Medical Ethics 9 (4):231-231.
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  35. R. Gillon (1998). Eugenics, Contraception, Abortion and Ethics. Journal of Medical Ethics 24 (4):219-220.
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  36. R. Gillon (1987). On Sterilising Severely Mentally Handicapped People. Journal of Medical Ethics 13 (2):59-61.
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  37. Sander L. Gilman (2002). A Life of Sir Francis Galton: From African Exploration to the Birth of Eugenics (Review). Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 45 (3):468-470.
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  38. Jonathan Glover (forthcoming). What Sort of People Should There Be? .
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  39. Jyotsna Agnihotri Gupta (2007). Private and Public Eugenics: Genetic Testing and Screening in India. [REVIEW] Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 4 (3):217-228.
    Epidemiologists and geneticists claim that genetics has an increasing role to play in public health policies and programs in the future. Within this perspective, genetic testing and screening are instrumental in avoiding the birth of children with serious, costly or untreatable disorders. This paper discusses genetic testing and screening within the framework of eugenics in the health care context of India. Observations are based on literature review and empirical research using qualitative methods. I distinguish ‘private’ from ‘public’ eugenics. I refer (...)
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  40. Ruth Levy Guyer (2009). Review of Paul A. Lombardo, Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck V. Bell. [REVIEW] American Journal of Bioethics 9 (8):75-76.
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  41. Jürgen Habermas (2003). The Future of Human Nature. Polity.
    In this important new book, Jurgen Habermas - the most influential philosopher and social thinker in Germany today - takes up the question of genetic ...
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  42. Frederick Hale (2011). Debating the New Religion of Eugenics: Catholic and Anglican Positions in Early Twentieth-Century Britain. Heythrop Journal 52 (3):445-457.
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  43. A. L. Hall (2005). Public Bioethics and the Gratuity of Life: Joanna Jepson's Witness Against Negative Eugenics. Studies in Christian Ethics 18 (1):15-31.
    In 2002, then Cambridge student Joanna Jepson initiated a legal, ecclesial, and media conversation on selective termination for disability. Making herself available in a way that is vulnerable, palpable, and effective, Jepson has used subtle rhetorical skill to question the ways certain lives are appraised as precious or expendable. The now Revd Jepson’s witness may adumbrate a boundary past which the task of truly public bioethics becomes precarious. While ethicists may persuasively argue in the public square against positive eugenics — (...)
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  44. Lesley A. Hall (2008). Eugenics, Sex and the State: Some Introductory Remarks. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 39 (2):177-180.
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  45. Clare Hanson (2008). Biopolitics, Biological Racism and Eugenics. In Stephen Morton & Stephen Bygrave (eds.), Foucault in an Age of Terror: Essays on Biopolitics and the Defence of Society. Palgrave Macmillan.
  46. John Harris (1993). Is Gene Therapy a Form of Eugenics? Bioethics 7 (2-3):178-187.
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  47. Bradley W. Hart (2012). Watching the 'Eugenic Experiment' Unfold: The Mixed Views of British Eugenicists Toward Nazi Germany in the Early 1930s. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 45 (1):33 - 63.
    Historians of the eugenics movement have long been ambivalent in their examination of the links between British hereditary researchers and Nazi Germany. While there is now a clear consensus that American eugenics provided significant material and ideological support for the Germans, the evidence remains less clear in the British case where comparatively few figures openly supported the Nazi regime and the left-wing critique of eugenics remained particularly strong. After the Second World War British eugenicists had to push back against the (...)
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  48. Michael Hauskeller (2005). Review of Nicholas Agar, Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (11).
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  49. Matti Häyry (2010). Rationality and the Genetic Challenge: Making People Better? Cambridge University Press.
    Machine generated contents note: 1. Seven ways of making people better; 2. Rational approaches to the genetic challenge; 3. The best babies and parental responsibility; 4. Deaf embryos, morality, and the law; 5. Saviour siblings and treating people as a means; 6. Reproductive cloning and designing human beings; 7. Embryonic stem cells, vulnerability, and sanctity; 8. Gene therapies, hopes, and fears; 9. Considerable life extension and the meaning of life; 10. Taking the genetic challenge rationally.
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  50. Peter Hobbins, Lynley Anderson, Nikki Cunningham, Mike Carnahan, Julie Park, Justin Denholm, Christopher Newell & Jean McPherson (2005). Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 2 (2):106-115.
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